Dec. 14, 2012
While avoiding the “fiscal cliff” is essential to near-term recovery and job growth, it is just the first step to restoring sustained prosperity in America. It would be catastrophic if negotiations between the president and Congress succeeded in avoiding the cliff but failed to address the fundamental threat of projected debt rising faster than the economy can grow.
We must have fundamental tax reforms that raise revenues and entitlement program reforms that slow the growth of healthcare spending and preserve Medicare and Medicaid for those who need them over the long run.
The “fiscal cliff” is an artificial barrier designed to pressure political leaders to get the nation’s budget on a sustainable path. The worst possible lame-duck deal would be a small one that avoids the cliff and thus removes pressure from policymakers to construct a much larger, multi-year agreement next year. Such a deal would do nothing for long-term fiscal stability...
One of the most important elements of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s framework for a lame-duck agreement is a provision that would pressure the 113th Congress through codification of the budget process’ reconciliation mechanism.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s framework for a major debt agreement has three parts, which could be enacted this month. First, Congress would make a down payment, a set of small, but meaningful, cuts to entitlement spending and reforms that would raise revenue. Second, Congress would establish an accelerated regular-order process that would provide the time necessary to develop major, revenue-raising tax reforms and structural entitlement changes that would slow long-term spending growth, then protect these reforms from procedural dangers like endless amendments and the filibuster. Finally, it would include a backstop, a fallback policy that would go into effect if Congress cannot reach agreement in 2013. A backstop should target the unaddressed drivers of our debt, which include tax expenditures and health entitlement spending.
Read the full op-ed here
Economic Policy Project